European bourses closed higher on Monday, entering into the new month on a solid footing after markets posted gains for the first half of the year.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up over 1 percent - its biggest one-day percentage rise in over two months - with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
The oil and gas sector was among the best performing, up almost 2 percent as investors focused on a potential $4.8 billion deal between France's Total and Iran. The deal, which would see a Total-led consortium develop South Pars, a giant Iranian gas field, is the first since the EU lifted sanctions against Iran in early-2016. Total ended more than 2 percent higher on the news.
More broadly, Brent moved higher by 1.21 percent at $49.36 per barrel shortly after 4.50 p.m. London time, while U.S. crude was more than 1.5 percent higher, at $46.72.
Nets, a Nordics-based payment provider, surged almost 11 percent higher after reports that it had been approached by a potential buyer. The boost marks a 9-month-high for the firm which listed on the stock market last year.
Banks, too, were also strong performers Monday, up over 2.5 percent. HSBC was one of the best among them, maintaining highs seen last week after the lender received a rating upgrade from Morgan Stanley, which caused the stock to hit a four-year high. Banco Santander, BBVA and Julius Baer were all seen up more than 2.7 percent.
The worst performing stock though was British satellite company Inmarsat, which dropped nearly 5 percent amid a court challenge from rivals who are seeking an injunction on the companies proposed in-flight Wi-Fi plans.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average and broader S&P 500 index both continued higher on Monday to mark a positive start to the third quarter. The New York stock exchange and the Nasdaq are both scheduled to close early on Monday ahead of July 4 holidays.
Barclays fraud trial
Monday marked the start of fraud trial into Barclays and four former executives who are accused of raising capital from Qatar at the height of the financial crisis. This is the first time charges have been taken against a global bank in relation to actions taken during the financial crisis.
At the same time, Barclays has announced Dublin as its pick for its post-Brexit financial hub, enabling it to continue servicing European clients once the U.K. leaves the EU. Barclays stock closed up over 2.1 percent.
Elsewhere, the euro zone's factory sector grew faster than expected in June, improving to 57.4 - up from 57.0 in May. Firms reported a strong uptick in new orders, leading to a surge in activity and job creation.